RED BANK, N.J. — When a band can be described as a gargantuan whirlpool of energy, the type that approaches heavy metal in its brashness, its bravado, its head-banging disregard for decorum, it is not often the same brand of music attracting the so-called “festival crowd” — flower children with hips encircled by hula hoops, multicolored masses drenched with main-stage sweat. Yet one listen to “Huego Latino,” one of ten monstrous tracks on Turtle Soup’s highly anticipated second album, and it becomes dizzily obvious why this New Jersey star quintet has managed to bridge the sonic and cultural divides between trance, funk, jam and hard rock, wrapped with a bow steeped in instrumental facility that would leave even jazz aficionados floored.
The aptly titled “Seconds” takes off where Northeast cult favorite “The Red Album” ended, with fans hungry for more deft studio approximations of the Turtle Soup live experience. Following its 2009 release, Relix Magazine (natl.), the Rutland Daily Herald (Vt.), The Aquarian Weekly (N.J.) and The Asbury Park Press (N.J.), as well as Home Grown Music Network and Jambase (online), raved over “The Red Album,” initiating a cascade of interviews and reviews that have yet to slow, strewn with plaudits such as “infectious,” “thunderous” and “blazing.” Perhaps the biggest praise came when John Popper of Blues Traveler, after seeing them open for his band in 2010, came away from the set visibly bewildered, exclaiming, “Turtle
Soup is good. … Turtle Soup is delicious!” Or, perhaps it was respected critic John Pfeiffer who best summarized the vibe when he wrote, “This latest record showcases a band that’s already seen a light bulb go off over their heads as they step into their own eclectic direction.”
“Seconds,” produced by founding member, lead singer and guitarist Jeff Mahajan at his very own Brooksound Productions studio, sees the five-time Asbury-Music-Award-winning group (Top Groove Band, Top Jam Band ) emitting a polished, distinctive ring within each and every track. Tim Palmieri, virtuoso guitarist for popular bands The Breakfast and Kung Fu, makes a guest appearance on “Someday.” Each of the eleven songs manifest Turtle Soup’s dedication to the idea of an album as a complete statement — old-fashioned in a single-dominated digital music culture — while showcasing the fluid range of hard-hitting, potent genre mutation that’s made their live sets a national festival favorite, and a preferred pick of international touring stars as an opener. Turtle Soup has shared stages with George Clinton, Furthur, moe., Paul Rodgers of Bad Company, Marshall Tucker Band, Blues Traveler, Dark Star Orchestra, Steve Kimock, Foghat and The Wailers, among many others. Significant festival appearances include Strangecreek, Wormtown, Evolve, Stonehenge, Pet ZOO, Bella Terra and Phanphest, in addition to countless sold-out East Coast venues over their eight-year career.
Says Mahajan, “If we said funk, rock or trance, straight-up, to describe our sound, we’d never have reached that jamband arena, because the jamband community redefines ‘community.’ The jam world craves freshness within a reliable package. Like in the sports world, jam fans follow bands and individual members’ solo projects like someone would follow the New York Giants. I’m proud and humbled that it appears we’ve been able to tap into that.”
Of note is the fact that “Seconds” marks the first album recorded on the East Coast at a fully solar-powered studio. Brooksound Productions, hand-built by the industrious Mahajan over the course of seven years, officially opened its doors in June 2011. “Obviously we want to minimize our carbon footprint,” explains Mahajan, “but I also realize that we’re unique in leading the recording industry down an environmentally friendly path.
Brooksound is the only solar-powered full-service studio in the Northeast. In recording ‘Seconds,’ we saved 15,000 pounds of CO2 greenhouse gases.”
Joining forces in 2004, Mahajan, Ben Feld (keyboards, piano, vocals), Andy Meyer (drums, vocals), Michael McDermott (bass) and Mark “Dark” Nettleingham (percussion) are undeniably going industry vertical, a trend continuing as their inaugural festival: SOUPER GROOVE in Freehold, NJ., September 28-29, featuring mid-Atlantic favorites Juggling Suns, Karmic Juggernaut, Matt O’Ree Band, Dub Proof and more, plus two Turtle Soup headlining sets brought nearly 1,000 raving fans to this exclusive event.
Turtle Soup is ready to write their next chapter of success with the release of Seconds and their upcoming tour.